Because I’m getting on a bit and I go mad for a bit of cake and kitchen-based merchandise, I quite often find myself in a garden centre. I’m not much of a gardener so the garden element is wasted on me but I’ll happily admire a cactus and a bit of wicker furniture, if pressed.
I’ve just realised that this is my third post about garden centres actually – the lady doth chatter too much. In this one I rambled on about my favourite garden centre perks, and in this one I talked about afternoon tea with kids. I think I intoned that afternoon tea with kids is quite taxing on the ol’ sanity.
And yet! The good people of Wyevale asked me if I’d like to go along to one of their festive afternoon teas with Father Christmas. My head skipped ahead to thoughts of turkey sarnies and mince pies and I was mentally there in a flash. We went to the Havant store and had a generally very lovely time, apart from my children rendering the whole thing a bit of a sigh fest.
On arrival, we were shown to our cracker-festooned table and orders were taken for caffeine. Lots of it, and double shots for the children (of course not). Mouse amused herself with some colouring and Moo did a celebratory Christmas poo, before we ordered them a sandwich and chose some lovely bits from the picnic selection. Children can have a hot meal, which the next table did and which I quite fancied pinching as a pre-mince pie warm up act.
Our afternoon tea came out, resplendent on three tiers, with Christmassy sandwiches, scones, and little cakes.
Then the shit really hit the fan with the arrival of Father Christmas himself.
“I need a wee I need a wee I need a wee I don’t like him I need a wee.” This was Mouse.
Me: “You do NOT need a wee, just stay and say a quick hello to Father Christmas.”
Me, to my husband: “Don’t you dare bloody move until she’s said hello to him!”
Christmas Elf: “It’s ok, we’ll be here a while, don’t make her hold on if she needs the loo.”
Me: “She doesn’t need the loo, she’s being very silly. Aren’t you, poppet? Aren’t you being really very silly?”
Anyway, all this merriment ensued for a short while, until I conceded defeat and dispatched Mouse off to the toilet with my husband. In the meantime, Moo and I entertained Father Christmas, me with cranberry sauce around my mouth and Moo with a Grade A snot disaster streaming from her nose. Pretty standard.
Mouse returned, bladder emptied and fear mildly abated, to see the nice restaurant man bringing out a plate of snowmen biscuits to decorate. While getting sugar strands absolutely everywhere, she mused that she might actually quite like to see Father Christmas so that she could ask him for a pedal bike. “Will we take the pedal bike home with us today, mummy? is it Christmas now?”
Approximately 0.5 meters from her meet and greet throne, Mouse decided that the beard was a bit scary again, and the Sunday afternoon crowd were once more treated to a meltdown from one of my children. Sensing I might hold the ace card, I thrust a still-snotty Moo onto the unsuspecting elf. “Look! Your sister isn’t frightened, is she? Maybe she’ll get a pedal bike for Christmas…”
Moo took one look at the bearded wonder and also lost her shit. Hence, the one photo I managed to get with Father Christmas in it is crap, and for that I apologise. Don’t let it put you off.
Eventually, presents were dished out (a craft kit and a cuddly reindeer. I didn’t get a present, sadly) and we set about crawling under the table to clear away the detritus and bodily fluids. We then mooched into the garden centre proper where I managed to pick up a half price Regatta fleece for my dad’s birthday, and Mouse broke a flimsy bauble.
“I love afternoon tea in a garden centre,” I remarked to my husband. “But our children really do put the fucking kybosh on family activities.”
Disclosure: I received a voucher for afternoon tea with Father Christmas from Wyevale. All views and experiences are my own – trust me, you wouldn’t want an hour out in public with my two.